New Writing Prize Announced

The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia has announced the creation of a new prize for emerging writers.

The Charles R. Saunders Prize has been established as an endowment in memory of speculative fiction author and journalist Charles R. Saunders, author of the Imaro sword and sorcery series. The prize was created by colleagues, literary friends, and readers. It has been designated for emerging writers with works in progress. Priority will be given to writers of marginalized backgrounds.

The prize consists of $1,000 cash and a five-month literary mentorship through WFNS’ Alistair MacLeod Mentorship Program, which puts together professionally published writers with emergine writers from across Nova Scotia. The mentorship provides new writers with development skills while at the same time providing established writers with the opportunity to improve mentorship and instruction skills. The mentorship as part of the Saunders Prize is valued at $3,000.

Saunders, born in Pennsylvania, moved to Canada in 1969 to avoid the Vietnam draft. He landed in Nova Scotia in 1985, where he lived until his death in 2020. Saunders worked as a civil servant and teacher until 1989, when he was recruited to work for the Halifax Daily News. He wrote non-fiction books as well as his “sword and soul” Imaro series, which began as a set of short stories followed by the first novel published by Daw in 1981. 

“Charles loved encouraging new writers. Many people wrote to him first as fans, and he encouraged them to pursue their own writing. His first career in Canada was teaching at a university, and the love for learning about other people’s writing never left him,” says Jon Tattrie, a friend and colleague of Saunders.

Currently, the Prize total stands at $15,802. WFNS has a goal of raising another $10,000 to make the fund sustainable for the long term. More information on supporting the Prize can be found at the WFNS web site.


Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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